Pennsylvania College of Optometry

Lori Grover, OD, PhD, Dean

Founded in 1919, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) established Salus University in July 2008.


The mission of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry is to provide programs of excellence worldwide that prepare optometry students, optometry residents, optometrists, and related providers to deliver exceptional patient care services that exceed practice standards and positively impact the quality of life. PCO’s programs are offered in an interdisciplinary environment dedicated to teaching/learning effectiveness, enhancing career development, inspiring and developing leadership, and fostering new discoveries through research.

Degree Programs

Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry has an unparalleled legacy in the education of competent and compassionate Doctors of Optometry. We have pioneered standard setting innovations in optometric education since 1919. Today, Salus University continues to offer more choices for our students.

PCO students can qualify for one of two pathways to a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Each program provides students with the knowledge and clinical experience necessary to enter the profession or complete a residency after graduation. No matter which program is chosen, all PCO students receive an optometric education with a strong biomedical foundation and a primary care focus.

Traditional Doctor of Optometry (OD)

A cohort curriculum with ten overlapping education modules, this program pioneered our integrated curriculum, where students learn in the classroom, practice what they have learned in a lab, and apply their knowledge and skills in caring for actual patients under the guidance and supervision of faculty. Many students choose the traditional program for the extensive clinical skills training that begins in year one and culminates in a 16 months of externships. Other features include small group learning experiences, and traditional semester breaks.  

Students can complement the Traditional Program with advanced studies courses and/or a residency program. Qualified students gain additional expertise in distinct areas of practice as they develop enhanced knowledge and experience beyond entry to practice.

Additionally, qualified undergraduates can enter a seven year program that begins at a participating undergraduate institution for three years. The next four years are spent at PCO in the traditional program. After the successful completion of their first year at PCO, students will receive their undergraduate degree.

Scholars Program (OD)

In June 2014, PCO will offer an innovative program that provides an alternative pathway to the OD degree. Through guided independent learning (GIL), the Scholars Program will accommodate a variety of student learning styles. Utilizing a maximized 36 month academic calendar, this year-round, campus-based curriculum for highly motivated and qualified students is educationally equivalent to PCO’s traditional OD degree program. The inaugural Scholars Program cohort will graduate in May 2017.

Additionally, students can complement the Scholars Program with advanced studies courses and/or a residency program.

International Optometry Programs

Bachelor of Science (BSc)
Master of Science in Clinical Optometry (MSc)

Since its creation in 1994, the Office of Professional Studies and International Programs has offered outstanding special optometric educational programs and initiatives in response to the needs of international students and international practitioners of optometry.

Each of these programs features our innovative biomedical based curriculum as well as early and extensive clinical education for which PCO is recognized. So whether you want to earn your undergraduate and OD degrees in seven years; experience a traditional four year program with semester breaks; enhance your knowledge and skills with Advanced Studies courses; or complete your OD degree in a uniquely designed learning format, PCO can help you meet your goals and take your place in a dynamic and growing profession. 

Office of Admissions